Thursday, January 23, 2014

Meet the Unsigned Free Agents: Frank Francisco, Sandy Rosario, Daisuke Matsuzaka

Frank Francisco:

What He's Done: Francisco had a nice five year stretch with an ERA+ over 100 in each of those years. He's pitched exclusively in relief  with a few separate stretches getting closing duties. The last two years haven't been as kind to him as his effectiveness has taken a sharp drop

What 2014 Has In Store: Likely to get a minor-league invite somewhere but far from guaranteed that he'll be in the MLB. The sharp drop off in performance at age 32-33 indicates his career may be coming to an end sooner rather than later.

Comparison Analysis: His closest comparable through age 33 is Doug Henry. He pitched in four additional seasons after turning 33 with an above average ERA+ in two of those seasons. This still doesn't make me too optimistic about his future. While Henry struggles in his 32/33 seasons, the drop off in performance was not as dramatic as it has been for Francisco the last couple seasons.

Sandy Rosario:

What He's Done:

2013 was the first year where he got a chance to pitch on a regular basis (43 games for the Giants) and had decent results (111 ERA+) though there are a couple red flags that indicate future struggles (1.2 SO/BB ratio and 1.39 WHIP.

What 2014 Has In Store:

Likely getting a minor league contract from somewhere and fighting and clawing to get another bullpen job. Since his results were okay last year, more likely than not he starts the season on a big league roster.

Comparison Analysis:

Not applicable as this data isn't available due to limited amount of career innings pitched (49 1/3). A lot of it boils down to control, if he can cut down on walks and/or increase strikeouts he could have a nice career as a middle reliever but if not his career could be very short.

Daisuke Matsuzaka:

What He's Done:

His time in the states got off to a very strong start as he pitched very well in 2007 & 2008. However, injuries and ineffectiveness have marred the last five years. The bottom fell out in 2012 but he did show some improvement in a few starts with the Mets.

What 2014 Has In Store:

His career is at a crossroads. It's unlikely that 2008 is going to repeat itself and he's not getting any younger (33) so time is definitely not on his side. Still, some team is going to be lured by the name and give him a flier with a minor-league contract and see if he could contribute some innings at the back of their rotation (best case scenario)

Comparison Analysis:

His most similar pitcher through age 32 was Robert Person. After age 32, he pitched seven ineffective games for the 2003 Red Sox. While I don't think Matsuzaka is going to be a star again, I think his future has somewhat brighter prospects and that he could hang around as a low-end starting pitcher for at least a couple of years.

Kevin Gregg:

What He's Done:

He's been pitching in relief since 2003 and had a job as designated ninth inning guy for six of the last seven years. He's been a decent relief pitcher in his career (106 ERA+) but  hasn't been particular dominant.

What 2014 Has In Store:

He's coming off a decent 2013 with the Cubs so I think he gets a 1 year deal for a moderate amount ($4-$5 million). My guess is that he probably doesn't get a closing gig and he'll likely end up in a middle relief/set up role.

Comparison Analysis:

His closest comparable through age 35 is Todd Jones. After that point, he pitched for five more years and had an above average ERA+ in four of them. I'm not sure if Gregg sticks around that long (my guess is two or three more productive seasons) but he still has enough left to be a solid contributor.




All numbers, comparisons, etc. found on Baseball-Reference.com